early childhood education

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/2602826152

A downtrodden portion of Indianapolis has been granted more than $8 million from the Obama Administration for revitalization.

The Circle City’s near-eastside neighborhood – just east of downtown – is one of eight areas designated by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture as “Promise Zones.” Also on the list are parts of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Sacramento, California and St. Louis County, Missouri.

SPL / https://www.flickr.com/photos/skokiepl/

More than 500,000 children ages five and younger have parents on active military duty for the United States.

The Department of Defense wants to make sure they have access to quality early childhood education.

Purdue is helping the DoD identify any gaps in services and develop a universal curriculum for all of its preschool programs.

The Department of Defense maintains the largest employer-sponsored child care system in the world.

David Shank / Shank Public Relations Counselors

Proposed legislation this General Assembly sought to make kindergarten mandatory for Hoosier children by lowering the compulsory school age from seven to five.  It’s an issue that has lawmakers and educators split -- even as the state focuses on funding early education initiatives.

Count to 100 by ones.

Solve real-world problems that involve addition and subtraction.

Understand how a nonfiction book is organized.

Those are the some of the more than 60 skills five-year-olds are expected to learn now in Indiana’s public kindergartens.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

As Indiana’s “On My Way Pre-K” pilot program launches this month, lawmakers are discussing the potential to expand the initiative.

Legislation waiting for consideration proposes including 13 other counties originally selected as finalists in the program. That would add Tippecanoe County to the mix before most other counties.

House Bill 1129 and Senate Bill 344 suggest funding the extension through the state lottery administrative fund.

Education Commission of the States

The new year brings a fresh start, and nobody is more aware of impending changes than families in Allen, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties.

Indiana’s first preschool pilot program begins in those four communities in January, when an anticipated 450 low-income four-year-olds will head off to school for the first time.

Indiana Youth Institute

Next month, the state will begin its pre-kindergarten pilot in four counties. It’ll add a fifth pilot county later in the year.

Indiana Youth Institute President Bill Stanczykiewicz says the term “pilot” is a bit of a misnomer, though.

He sat down with WBAA News Director Stan Jastrzebski to talk about advocating for early childhood education, but says it’ll likely be decades before the state can truly know if pre-k is making a difference.

Roger Lawrence / https://www.flickr.com/photos/rog42/3558578809

As an education reporter in Indiana, I talk to a lot different people about education issues: politicians, teachers, parents, state agency employees and kids explain their opinions on everything from pre-k to standardized testing.

No matter what problem we’re talking about, everyone cites one thing as a solution: family engagement.

So everyone agrees, as soon as a child is born, parents should be involved. But how exactly does that help them learn?

Barnaby Wasson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/barnabywasson/27991131

A preschool classroom can be overwhelming. Take one at Bloomington Montessori for example.

There’s a few dozen students scattered around the room, each doing a different activity. One child is painting on an easel, two boys are building and knocking down a tower of blocks, and a  girl is pouring water from one cup into another over a sink.

Teacher Eve Cusack attempts to stop all of this activity and corral the children to go outside.

Designing, finding, or affording a high quality preschool program is often just as confusing to navigate as the classroom itself.

Nicole Mays / flickr.com/photos/mnicolem/295019550

Parents in Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh Counties will soon be eligible to receive state funding to send their kids to preschool.

Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration Tuesday announced those five counties have been chosen from a pool of 18 semi-finalists to participate in Indiana’s pre-K pilot program. 

The FSSA selected the final counties based on their need for preschool programs and their ability to meet that need. Officials had also said cooperation between agencies in each county would be a major determining factor.

Nicole Mays / flickr.com/photos/mnicolem/295019550

The Family and Social Services Administration will announce this month the five counties selected to participate in the state’s new pre-k pilot program, Indiana’s first big move toward making preschool a priority. 

But many believe a child’s learning needs to be a priority from the beginning of his life, before he ever enters a classroom.

Amiri-Jayden Smith is three months old, and today his mother, Jazmin Smith, and her nurse home visitor Maire Flood are weighing and measuring him.

Smith's smile spreads across her face.